The longest standing bridge
The Ponte Vecchio or Old Bridge as it is also known, was at one time the only bridge which spanned the River Arno, and during World War II it was the only bridge which wasn't destroyed.
Originally built as a connecting route from the Uffizi Gallery to the Palazzo Pitti, butchers initially occupied the shops. Today the bridge is home to ornate shops, predominantly selling jewelry and souvenirs.
Pretty and old, wooden chest
The wooden shutters are closed each evening which gives the shops the quaint look of an old wooden chest. One of the prettiest bridges in Florence, it may be filled with tourists but it is well worth visiting.
Great views from the bridge
Visit the Ponte Vecchio for some incredible views of the River Arno and the colourful houses on its banks. The bridge from the outside looks to contain small one and two storey houses, these are actually jewelry stores and goldsmiths. From the central arches of the bridge you can watch people walk along the riverside path and admire the city from a different vantage point.
Should I shop at the Ponte Vecchio?
Ponte Vecchio is known for its goldsmiths and traditional Florentine jewelry, and it is obviously tempting to buy a remembrance when you are here. Be aware though that everything is heavily marked up, sometimes up to 50%, just because it is sold on the bridge.
So if you have to buy something, keep it cheap. And for the real thing head to Arezzo, a centre for traditional jewelry, priced right. Or to Oltarno across the Arno, where you can buy from the goldsmith at his work table.
Best views of the bridge
If you want to get the best views or if you are a photo enthusiast, head to the colonnaded walkway on the river bank.
Key HighlightsThis is by far the most picturesque bridge in Florence, across the Arno. Originally built to connect Palazzo Pitti and The Uffizi Gallery, it housed butcher shops which were replaced by jewelers to enhance the prestige of the bridge.
You can get unique views of the city from the bridge. It is also a popular place to shop for a souvenir, gold jewelry or something to remember Florence by. Couples find the bridge romantic in the evenings, for a passeggiata, or stroll.
Should I shop at the Ponte Vecchio? Read on to find out.